VERDE HERITAGE 1899: JEROME DESCRIBED BY PHOENIX VISITOR
"Jerome, Ariz., September 25. --- No visitor to Arizona should ever leave the territory without riding over the Jerome railroad and seeing the town of Jerome."
"Many stories exist concerning the dangers in riding over the Jerome road. The writer never experienced a smoother ride, although the crookedness of the road cannot be expressed in language. Whatever dangers there may be attached to the trip are during the wet season when the inevitable torrents threaten the embankments, curves, and bridges. The road bed, however, is being improved continually. The scenery from the car window is something never to be forgotten. After a climb that seems to be an initial effort to conquer nature's fastness, the little engine triumphantly pulls its train around the brow of a mountain, and lo all nature lies in homage there below. The river Verde flows thousands of feet below, a thread in the endless waste, until dim distance alone defies the gaze. Another turn farther on brings in view a whole mountain side on fire and veiled in blue smoke. It is the great rows of roasting ore. All else is waste. Another turn and there bursts upon the view great volumes of smoke rising from twenty stacks, a sea of roofs, and darting ore cars moving out like human beings. The railroad car feels the din of chains and wheels and the roar of ponderous machines. Slowly it is realized that it is one of the world's great copper camps --- Jerome."
"A ride from the depot to the hotel is taken down a steep, narrow, and crooked road at pell-mell speed, seemingly regardless of circumstances. The road is wide enough but for one team half the way, but teams pass one another in a way unknown to a stranger. There appears to be nothing straight in this part of the territory. The line of beauty is everywhere met with. There is nothing level. It is all uphill."
Montana Hotel: "The new company hotel is nearing completion. It sits above the town on the mountain side and looms up as big as the city of Phoenix. It is three stories high on the upper side and five at the lower. It is fire-proof and solidly built of brick and steel. It will accommodate over 300 men to lodgings and a much greater number to board. It seems preposterous that such a building should be located on such a place where it appears to hug the mountain to keep from falling off."
United Verde Copper Company: "The new company store building is almost finished. The sub-story on the lower side is occupied by a branch of the Bank of America at Prescott, a jewelry store, Park's barber shop (as nice as the Hotel Adams' shop in Phoenix, but there is more of it), and Campbell & Meyers' news stand. Three rooms are yet vacant. The first floor has been elaborately fitted up with store fixtures and is being stocked with goods for the T. F. Miller company. Nearly everything needed by anyone in Jerome will be handled. The second story is a dance and opera hall. The upper floor is occupied by different lodges."
"The postoffice building is perhaps the most insignificant thing in Jerome. Its insignificance is made ridiculous by the nearness to the company's magnificent Masonic temple [and T. F. Miller building] across the street. It is a mere shack, scarcely high enough for a tall man to stand erect in. The postoffice will be moved into the sub-story of the Masonic temple next to Campbell & Meyers' news stand, where it will be housed in first-class shape."
"It has been said, 'Where e'er the Lord erects a house of prayer the devil always builds a chapel there.' The devil certainly did not want for the house of prayer in Jerome There is one beggarly looking church and at least sixteen saloons and more going up. The saloons are the most elaborately furnished places in the town. Some from the outside appearances would be taken for banks or some exchange. On entering it would be learned that the only bank was a faro bank and the exchange was over the bar. There are no bars in Phoenix that can compare in costliness with these nor any palace of iniquity as gilded as those run wide open day and night in Jerome."
"Jerome has risen from its ashes a better built town than it was before its destruction. All the new buildings in the business portion are of brick, stone, 'dobe,' or concrete. Whole blocks have been built with these materials and other whole blocks are lined with new buildings in construction which are also of fire-proof materials. There are more than fifteen business blocks going up and others will be built as soon as time can be had, the want of which is greatly felt. ... Concrete buildings are something new for Arizona and its people."
"The company is building two fine cottages and individuals have finished a number of others. There are no tents in the town. They are not allowed."
"Fire is a thing uppermost in the minds of the people of Jerome. Some stores have fire shutters both for windows and doors. The shutters for the store fronts are manipulated like a roller curtain and at the close of the day's business are pulled down. Many of the frame buildings are under the protection of water stored in barrels on their roofs. When a blaze breaks out three shots are fired and the people turn out at any time of the day or night."
"It seems the embers of Jerome's former fires are still smoldering, as a blaze is continuously breaking out somewhere. Sunday the whole back end of Mrs. Clark's house was found ablaze. The women of the vicinity rushed to the scene with buckets of water and extinguished the flames. Monday night the town was startled by an alarm from the Mexican portion of the city. A small fire was put out before it got any headway."
"The town has a chemical fire engine. Here the precautions are inadequate. If there were several others like it material protection could be given. A large supply of water is being obtained by the United Verde Copper Company and when it is secured Jerome will be no longer at the mercy of its terrible enemy."
"C. M. Zander, Special Correspondent of the 'Republican.'"
(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; September 29, 1899; page 6.)
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